Dallas students to gain more STEM teachers
(DALLAS, TX) – Urban Teachers, a national teacher preparation program that trains aspiring teachers for careers in the field, announced today that it has received a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning in the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) and in Uplift Education, the largest public charter school network in North Texas.
The grant represents a critical anchor in a coalition of investments into Dallas public school students. It is the largest single-year contribution TI Foundation has made in Urban Teachers since it began making annual investments in 2017.
The grant will improve STEM learning through better teacher quality. It also supports the mission of Urban Teachers to improve educational and life outcomes of children in urban schools by preparing culturally competent, effective career teachers who accelerate student achievement and disrupt systems of racial and socioeconomic inequity.
“Consider how much technology has changed since Texas Instruments was founded in 1930. Careers abound in areas of science, technology, engineering and math that simply didn’t exist 90 years ago,” said Emily Garcia, Executive Director Urban Teachers Dallas/Fort Worth. “Through the support of partners like the TI Foundation, Urban Teachers is preparing the next generation of career teachers who will inspire students to explore, investigate, and innovate.”
“Urban Teachers is bringing a much-needed pipeline of well-prepared educators to our region, helping to ensure all of our children have access to excellent teachers,” said Dottie Smith, President of the Commit Partnership. “With teachers being the No. 1 in-school factor that influence student achievement, investing in expanding high-quality programs, like Urban Teachers, helps us live up to the promise of a great education by providing great educators to our children. We applaud the TI Foundation for continuing to support our educational system with this significant gift and are thrilled to see Urban Teachers expanding.”
Uplift Education Chief Academic Officer Remy Washington, Ed.D., said: “We want to strategically prepare more of our students to enter STEM-related fields upon graduating from college. For us to reach this goal, we realize that we need more teachers who are capable of building our students’ conceptual understanding of both mathematics and science that leads to deeper learning and high levels of synthesis. The success of our students in both their mathematics and science courses is contingent upon the training and competence of their STEM teachers. We believe our partnership with Urban Teachers is an important step toward filling every math and science classroom with these types of career teachers.”
Urban Teachers CEO Peter Shulman said: “The Texas Instruments Foundation has been an early and ongoing supporter of our work in Dallas, and this partnership helps Urban Teachers meet a growing demand for highly effective teachers in STEM subjects. As a result, students in the Dallas area are receiving top-notch instruction that not only improves their academic performance, but also prepares them for real-world careers in emerging, high-demand industries.”
By forging local partnerships, Urban Teachers has become a critical component in the Dallas ISD Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative to transform 17 district schools through strong school leadership, effective teachers, and higher expectations. Urban Teachers residents are placed in the ACE schools and eventually serve as teachers in these schools upon completion of their residency training.
“The TI Foundation is proud to support the important work of Urban Teachers and its mission to attract, train and retain more effective teachers,” said Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation. “We know that teachers have a significant influence on students, and that having high-quality math and science teachers in the classroom is crucial for students to succeed. When students succeed, the region succeeds, and this is why STEM teacher effectiveness is our highest giving priority.”
Since Urban Teachers opened in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 2016, it has welcomed more than 300 aspiring teachers into its multi-year teacher preparation program, which is designed to create highly-effective career teachers. In the initial year, described as the “residency year,” a program participant attends summer session before and after the school year. During that school year, residents receive intensive one-on-one coaching and take coursework at night in preparation for a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University – all while working at a school during the day in a veteran teacher’s classroom in a support role such as offering small group instruction and one-on-one interventions with students.
Once they complete their residency year and are prepared to lead their own classroom, the aspiring teachers have had a full year of classroom experience, more than 30 hours of direct coaching from veteran teachers, and four semesters of master’s level coursework. This rigorous pre-service preparation ensures our teachers are far more equipped than typical inexperienced, first-year teachers. According to Dallas ISD, first-year teachers from the Urban Teachers program received the highest rating, “proficient,” at nearly double the rate of non-Urban Teachers.
Olivia Hubble, a seventh grade math teacher at Uplift Heights Middle School in Dallas, said the residency year built into the Urban Teachers’ model gave her an advantage that most first- or second-year teachers don’t have.
“It allowed me to observe and learn from master teachers while gaining experience,” Hubble said. “The extensive training from Urban Teachers, coursework from Johns Hopkins University, and clinical hours on my school site put me ahead of the curve.”